What Is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is heat stored in rocks beneath the earth’s surface. This heat is brought to the surface as hot water, where it can be used to generate electricity or used directly for applications such as space heating, air-conditioning and the production of desalinated water.
Geothermal resources are typically accessed by drilling wells into the resource and extracting the hot water which is used to generate electricity on the surface or distributed for direct use. Once the heat energy has been extracted the water is usually re-injected back into the ground.
Electricity from geothermal energy is currently generated in 24 countries around the world. As a source of cheap and emissions-free base-load power, geothermal energy is the most appropriate form of large-scale energy production.
The full potential of geothermal energy as a major source of power in Australia is only now being recognised. High quality Hot Aquifer geothermal resources promise to deliver commercial quantities of electricity to major grids within five years, while some of the world’s best Hot Rock are poised to enter the demonstration phase before ramping up to very large-scale.